friday's fancies #35.

Phew! It's Friday! I don't know about you, but I'm thrilled beyond belief that it's here...{cv} and I are staying in New England this weekend, which suits me just fine. From the fabulous bfrend bracelet giveaway and the very exciting annoucement of rendez-vous: new england {not to mention the fabulous Boston Bloggers event on Wednesday night!}, it's been a fun and exciting blog-filled week for me!

This weekend, we'll be bopping down to Newport to see the Doobie Brothers in concert--I grew up listening to them and am so excited to check them off my "in-person" checklist ;) On Saturday, I'm attending my first swap up in Boston and I couldn't be more excited! {cv} and I will spend Sunday getting life in order after a ridiculously busy month of July. And if money were no object, I'd be sporting
this snazzy polka-dot get-up, walking the streets of Newport and "listen{ing} to the music"...

1) Seeing as Splendid is one of my all-time favorite brands, it's no surprise I fell for this Polka-Dot Voile Blouse at first sight. This lovely top would be just right for a summer night out!
2) These Tiffany & Co. Tiffany Circlet Earrings are an amped up version of these Banana Republic beauties that I gave my bridesmaids last year. I wear them almost every day and my 'maids do too. Maybe one day {cv} will upgrade my CZs ;)
3) When I first spotted these 3.1 Phillip Lim Knot-Front Textured Silk Jersey Shorts, I knew they had to be a part of my Friday's Fancies. They're elegant and dressy, without trying too hard.
4) I positively adore this bfrend Silver Queen Dainty Cobra Bracelet from The Doctor's Closet. Not only is Monika, the beauty and the brains behind this line, the sweetest, she makes this eye candy for all of us to enjoy. {And don't forget--you can win your own from the popsicle series this week!}
5) Jimmy Choo outdid himself with these gorgeous Polar Patent Leather Espadrilles. I would love to add these to my summer shoe repertoire. sigh.
6) This outfit wouldn't be complete without a little pop of color and this 3.1 Phillip Lim Nashiki Clutch fulfills that requirement with ease! It's small and stylish--and really packs a punch. 

If you want to see more Friday's Fancies from yours truly this week, 
check out my guest post on the lovely blog, days filled with love!
Last week, Elizabeth from Pearls & Pugs rocked it with her look and won the "likes" competition!

If you want to be in the spotlight next week, here's what you need to do to make it happen :)

<--- If you'd like one, here's a little button to help promote your post!

I'm so excited to see your Friday's Fancies this week :) Each week, the posts keep getting better and better--so thank you for all the love you put into them. It most definitely doesn't go unnoticed! That's why posting a Friday's Fancies this week earns you an extra entry in the bfrend giveaway {which ends Sunday} :) Click on the link below to add your comment(s)--and score yourself another one if you included a bfrend bracelet!

Don't forget to register for rendez-vous: new england! Spots are filling up fast--and you won't believe all the fabulous giveaways we're lining up for those of you who join us :)

What do you have planned for the weekend ahead?

Whatever you're doing, I hope it's filled with sunshine...
and that you're sun savvy, of course! xoxo {av}

psst...don't forget: if you're on twitter and are tweeting about your Friday's Fancies, be sure to
include the #FridaysFancies hashtag and cc @luvfromafar, so I can give you some twitter love!

cute as a button.

For as long as I can remember, I've loved buttons. I sought out every button I could find as a kid. I even made my parents stop at estate sales to find big piles of them. {Don't I sound like the coolest kid ever? Holy moly!} When my grandmother and great-grandmother passed in the mid 1990s, I inherited a few gorgeous boxes of buttons which I've held onto for years. And now, thanks to pinterest, I have plenty of ideas about what I can do with those special buttons--and all the others I collected!

{button projects: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7}

What did you collect when you were younger?

Have a fantastic Thursday! I'll see you back here tomorrow for Friday's Fancies! I can't wait :)
Don't forget to get all your entries in for the bfrend giveaway--it ends Sunday!
xoxo {av}

blue ribbon beauties.

{shop the blue ribbon beauties: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7}

Back home in Indiana, the last Wednesday of July always falls during the county fair. 
For most of you city folk, the county fair is just a place to people watch and eat fried food. 
{I will admit that I definitely partake in both when I attend, don't worry.} For me, 
the county fair represents a little slice of Americana that will forever be a part of me. 

Why you ask? I participated in 4H for 12 years! The fair was the big "shindig' where we 
showed off all the hard work we put into our projects any given summer. I did a lot of 
projects which sound goofy in retrospect {hello gift wrapping!}, but I will say that many of 
the skills I learned in 4H are still with me today. Not only did I learn how to manage my time, 
I discovered my passion for photography, design, and creative writing and really cultivated my
craftiness. It may sound like something country bumpkins do, but 4H really is pretty fabulous :)

{little old me posing with my photography project in my pre-{av} days at my final state fair as a 4Her in 2004}

Today's post was most definitely inspired by the blue ribbons being handed out back 
in Jackson County, Indiana this week :) {and you know I love that rich cobalt hue!}

So...tell me:
Which of those blue ribbon beauties is your favorite?
What experience from your youth helped shape you?

Have a fantastic Wednesday! xoxo {av}

P.S. Endless thanks to those of you who have entered the lovely bfrend giveaway
Don't forget you can up your chances by creating a Friday's Fancies post this week :)

P.P.S. If you're in New England and you're not signed up for rendez-vous: new england,
you better get registered! Lots of fabulous ladies are already on the list!

rendez-vous: new england.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Thank you SO much to those of you who have
entered the fabulous bfrend giveaway {and if you haven't, you should}!
I promised another big announcement this week...and here it is :)

 After meeting with {jd}, one of my blog besties, in Chicago
{and after successful meet-ups in ProvidenceCharleston and New York City},
we decided to pull together an entire weekend devoted to meeting other bloggers
while she's out east this September and we're calling it: rendez-vous: new england!

For those of you in New England, it's the perfect opportunity to get to know your blogger community better...and for those of you who might be elsewhere, it's an excuse to make that trip to Boston you've been dying to make for years. If you've never been to a meet-up, it's a great way to see the blessings of blogging come to life. I'd love to see your face in the next photo of my blogger meet-up montage :)

We have a touristy adventure planned for Saturday afternoon, September 10th and a fabulous mixer on tap later that evening evening. On Sunday, September 11th, we'll explore the SoWa Open Market and have a picnic to follow. This event is open to bloggers of all ages and genres -- we're just hoping to have a LOT of fun getting to know fellow bloggers!

If you have any questions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to get in touch! 
If you're making the trip from outside of New England, we advise booking your 
travel ASAP because these events will fill up--as will flights and buses. 
{Please email me after you book and I can help coordinate a roommate if you'd 
like one to help cut down on costs! If you're in New England and just want a fun night 
in Boston, you can also email me for our hotel location--I just don't want to share it broadly 
so we can maintain privacy and safety.}

If you're not in the area, where else might you like to see a rendez-vous?

Should you have any questions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to get in touch!
Many thanks to the beautiful ladies from Boston Bloggers and Paper Moss for their 
support :) If you can't make it this weekend, don't fret--this won't be the last 
rendez-vous...Hope to see you in September! xoxo {av}

P.S. Do you want to give away a little something to all the attendees? Email me :) 
Your products are sure to get a wide audience! Or--if you're in Massachusetts or 
New England and want to help, definitely reach out to us! We just might need you!

a {sweet} summer giveaway.

It's an exciting Monday on {long distance loving}! Why? Monika {the genius behind bfrend and
The Doctor's Closet} is giving my fabulous readers a chance to win their very own bfrend bracelet!

You may have seen bfrend bracelets in my friendship bracelet post a few weeks ago, but you're sure 
to have seen them on The Glitter Guide and Atlantic-Pacific!  bfrend bracelets add a pop of color 
{and a lot of fun} to any outfit--and I'd love to have a wrist full of them ;)

you must follow {long distance loving} and the doctor's closet on blogger 
and include your favorite color from the popsicle series in your first comment

favorite bfrend on etsy
follow The Doctor's Closet on facebook
follow The Doctor's Closet on bloglovin
follow {long distance loving} on bloglovin
post a Friday's Fancies this Friday {7.29.11} + add a comment saying you linked up
{earn an extra entry if you include a bfrend bracelet in your Friday's Fancies}
follow @doctorscloset on twitter
follow @luvfromafar on twitter
copy + paste a tweet which says this: win your very own bfrend bracelet from @doctorscloset {via @luvfromafar} 

I can't wait to see who wins! Many many thanks to Monika for sponsoring this giveaway! Each and every one of you deserves to win...and if I could, I'd give you all a bfrend bracelet because of all the love you've given me! Good luck to each of you :) Keep your eyes peeled for another big announcement tomorrow! xoxo {av}

The fine print: This giveaway will run until Sunday, July 31st at 5:00PM EST and the winner will be announced on the morning of Monday, August 1st. The maximum number of entries is 10. If you don't leave your entries in separate comments, you'll only receive the number of entries that corresponds with the number of comments you left. {If you have any other questions, please email me!}

friday's fancies #34.

Happy Friday! Since I spent Monday in Chicago, today feels more like Thursday--but I'm not complaining. This week, my Friday's Fancies pays homage to one of the fashion highlights of any summer: the little white dress (aka the LWD). I paired it with a bold emerald green to make that white pop. Take a peek!

1) From the moment I saw this Temperley London Mini Beatriz Dress, I knew it was love. I thought this LWD would be a stellar dress to sport in this heat wave. Despite the sleeves, it's gauzy feel just screams summer. 
2) If it's a Chloé, then it's hard not to love in my book. This Sally Medium Shoulder Bag is no exception. The gorgeous emerald green color and the envelope style had me at hello.
3) With so much going on in the dress and on my wrists, I thought these Marc by Marc Jacobs Small Faceted Studs would be just enough to keep things interesting!
4) These Diane von Furstenberg Opal Leather Wedge Sandals would be a fun choice for this outfit. Though I normally am a flats-loving gal, I'd take these wedges in a heartbeat. In multiple colors. ;)
5) As a May baby, I've always loved emeralds. I simply adore these Amrita Singh Richa Bangles because they come in my favorite green hue. They also do quite a lot to kick this outfit up a notch--or ten. 
If you're looking for another dose of Friday's Fancies from yours truly, be sure to
check out my guest post on one of my favorite blogs, Strong Sense of Style!
After her gorgeous post last week, Ashley from a {little} dash of ash won first prize in the "likes competition! With her killer fashion sense, I'm so grateful to have her as a Friday's Fancies faithful :) 
Here's the low-down on how to earn a shout-out in my Friday's Fancies post next week...

Should you be looking for a win, there are a few ways to increase your odds. If you share your post on twitter, use the #FridaysFancies hashtag and include my twitter handle {@luvfromafar}, so I can give you some love too :) Feel free to use this button and spread the word!
Whether it's a LWD or another dreamy summer outfit, I'm equally as excited to see what you dream up this week! If you're not joining in the fun this week, know the invitation always stands! If you have any questions or need any help, feel free to email me--I'd be happy to find a solution! xoxo {av}

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tick tock.

Happy Thursday! I woke up this morning to realize it was the 21st of July and nearly had a heart attack...where is this summer going!? Though I'm not prepared for another New England winter,
you better believe I'm going to soak up every last bit of summer. Before summer ticks away, I'm
searching for a great watch to bridge the seasons...and maybe you could help me decide!

{1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10}

Can you pick a favorite?
Which watch works best  for the office?

I'm super excited for your input on which of these beauties you like best! 
One thing's for sure: I'm certainly watching the clock for midnight to roll around...
I can't wait for another round of Friday's Fancies :) Happy Thursday! xoxo {av}

P.S. Be sure to hop over to Mackey Madness and see my guest post :) it's a fun one!
{Thanks again for having me, Megan!}

now + later.

After I saw this gorgeous get-up on pinterest, I've been keeping my eye peeled for a fabulous lace skirt. I positively adore the one below from Bird by Juicy Couture. The one drawback is its pricetag, so my search doesn't stop me from dreaming of how I'd wear it though ;) I love the idea of finding items to wear this summer that translate to the autumn as well. In my opinion, the lace skirt and the Coach Classics bridge the two seasons perfectly!

{1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8}

What pieces do you want to take from this summer into autumn?

Have a phenomenal Wednesday, lovely readers! Just so you know, your comments make my day! Even though I don't always get to return the favor, please know that I read each and every one :) xoxo {av}

psst: be sure to stop by and see a fab guest post from Frankie Hearts Fashion on sun savvy!

a windy weekend.

I'm back from a whirlwind trip of the Windy City--and what a wonderful weekend it was!
This is a photo-heavy post, but I think it manages to hit the high points of my trip :) Enjoy!

My windy weekend is one I won't soon forget. {ah} pulled together a stellar itinerary to show {ch} and I the best of what Chicago has to offer. We made new memories flying down Michigan Avenue, saw the sights in the daylight and the moonlight, and ate very well. I seriously can't thank her enough for inviting us to Chicago and sharing her hometown with us. Her family was so kind to open their home to us--and they did a fabulous sales job at trying to convince me that Chicago is the place to be long-term! I'm beyond grateful to have forever friends like {ah} and {ch}...and I can't wait for our next reunion :)

On top of it all, I tacked on an extra day so I could finally meet {jd}! She was one of the first bloggers I really got to know in the blogosphere. Though we've emailed and skyped plenty of times before, I was so glad to see her in person. I was thrilled to experience her corner of Chicago, meet her {h}, and dream of fun things on the horizon! I know we'll be friends even after things like blogs are obsolete with the newest technology in a few years time ;) After such an incredible weekend, I'll admit that I had a very hard time boarding the plane back to Rhode Island yesterday, only made better because I got to see {cv} at the end of it all.

What did you do with your weekend!? {And do you love the Windy City like me?}

One positive for this Tuesday is that it's Tuesday--and not Monday, which means Friday will be here before we know it ;) I hope you all have a fantastic day! I'll see you tomorrow :) xoxo {av}


Greetings from the Windy City! I've had such a wonderful trip back to the Midwest, so it makes
it hard to get excited about going back east tonight...except for the fact I'll get to see {cv} at the
end of it all. I'm so excited to have got some good quality time with my girlfriends--old and "new."
It's funny because I feel like {jd} and I can't be classified as "new" friends because it feels like
we've known each other for years. Yay for the blogosphere--and for finding lifelong friends!
Truly and honestly, there is nothing like a weekend with close friends...

 While I'm away, I have a better vantage point by which to realize the good {and the tough} parts of long distance.  I realized the other day this was the longest {cv} and I have been apart since our wedding. I've taken weekends away, but this five-day stretch in the Midwest accounts for our longest separation since April 10th of last year. I appreciate {cv} more every day...and hopefully, this post
affirms just what kind of dividends a healthy long distance relationship can provide.

Now, when you see a face like that, you may be asking yourself: why exactly would she share
this ridiculous picture when the caption mentions the "long distance retrospective"?
I have a few very easy answers to that question.

For starters, this photo makes me laugh SO HARD. One of the things I love about my relationship with {cv} is that he always keeps me laughing. Case in point: this photo perfectly embodies his playful razzing. I had to take photos of {cv} for my class at RISD and he was being such a trooper. Even though he hates having his photo taken, he was agreeing to my continual camera clicking...until he reached his breaking point, as evidenced in this photo. It will always make me laugh because I know just what's behind that goofy face of his. When we're apart, I definitely miss his sense of humor, but mostly I miss that smile he sports when he knows he just cracked a great joke ;)

Beyond the obvious ridiculousness of this photo, the simple fact of having photos of {cv} on a semi-regular basis means that we're in the same place, which is a big improvement on the three years we spent in different cities during our relationship. Now, with two years together in the same place, I sometimes wonder if I'm losing my perspective on just how hard it is to be long distance. When either one of us is gone for a few days {either electively or for work}, we both know how to survive without the other...though we'd much prefer to be surviving with each other. I think one of the lasting impressions of our years apart is that understanding any separation is only temporary. That perspective proves invaluable when we're apart because it means we're not spending hours on the phone with one another--distracting from what took us on the trip in the first place. We're able to focus on the friends {or the work} in front of us and know that when we come home, we'll have each other.

I pray we'll always keep this long distance retrospective, though I also pray we never have to live apart in the future. I've said it once and I'll say it again...I am so grateful to have had those years in different cities to help me fully appreciate what it's like to finally be in the same city.

Have you ever had an experience that you can now look back and appreciate, 
though you couldn't fully appreciate it when you were going through it?

I'm back in Rhode Island tonight--and you better believe I'm excited to see {cv}! It helps to distract from the fact I'll already be missing my girlfriends after a wonderful few days together...

Hope you had a fabulous weekend--see you back here tomorrow! xoxo {av}

P.S. Big thanks to the College Prepster for the shout-out on Friday about sun savvy!
We hit the 100 mark for pledges this weekend and I'm overjoyed!

friday's fancies #33.

Hello from Chicago! I'm in town this weekend for an action-packed girls weekend with {ah} and
{ch}.  I have to tell you: it's great to be back in the Midwest! Though I grew up in Indiana, {ah} spent her pre-college years just north of the Windy City and wanted to share her hometown with {ch} and me. I'm pumped to see more of Chicago and share some time with a few of my favorite ladies. As an incredible added bonus, I even get to meet and spend time with my blogging bestie, {jd}!! All in all,
this weekend will be just what I need after a long few weeks.

With such a great weekend on tap, I decided to create a lazy, hazy summer chic outfit...though this weekend will be anything but lazy. I'm okay with that because it's going to be a memorable one!
I hope you like the pops of color against the neutral tones I've been loving these days :)

1) I don't think I'll ever get enough of a long pendant necklace, so when I spied this Kara by Kara Ross Red Python Eclipse Skin Pendant Necklace, I knew it would be a perfect springboard for my summer chic get-up. I love love love the layered chains and the overall texture of this necklace. It's fab!
2) Simple and chic, this Joie Selda Tank makes my heart happy. It's about as basic as you can get, but I can just feel its cotton-y perfection on my body. sigh.
3) It only happens every once in awhile, but...I actually own these 7 for All Mankind Roll-Up Shorts! I love them! I ruined my white shorts last summer after dancing all night long in New York City, so these beauties were a perfect replacement. I love the cuff and the soft denim. They work so well with this outfit--and are sure to be a fixture in my wardrobe for years to come.
4) This 3.1 Phillip Lim Lynus Camera Bag is so new that it's not even available yet. The photography lover in me longs for a gorgeous bag like this one....but really, the fashionista inside of me loves it even if it was listed as just a bag ;)
5) If you could put a pricetag on this candle, you'll never put it at where it's listed. I love the colors of this Missoni Home Torta Four-Wick Wax Candle and decided to include it in my Fancies because I thought it would be fun if I had an unlimited budget for a hostess gift. It ties this whole outfit together splendidly, don't you think?
6) An amped up version of flip-flops, these Tory Burch Abitha Patent Leather Thong Sandals add a pop of color and still keep with the lazy+hazy theme. I wish I could have them in all the colors they have available. Why does Tory tempt me so much? haha!

I hope you enjoyed my lazy and hazy summer chic this week--if you want more from me, 
be sure to check out my domestic chic guest post on Love is Home!

Last week, Ashlyn created a dreamy summer outfit--and won the Friday's Fancies "likes" competition!

If you're joining in the Friday's Fancies fun, follow these simple instructions
and you just might appear in my post next week...

I cannot wait to see what you create this week--I seriously cannot tell you how honored I am to
have you linking up week after week.  If you're new to Friday's Fancies, just know this: your goal
is to create your dream outfit without worrying about the pricetags! If you have any questions,
please send them my way...I'm happy to help :)

If you're in Chicago and on foursquare, you might be able to find me in the Windy City! Add me!
 Thanks again for taking the time to link up today--have a fantastic weekend! xoxo {av}

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soaking it up.

At long last, here is the final round of photos from our week-long adventure in the Golden State!
This could be my favorite set of photos too--so you're in for a treat. Our last full day in Napa
started early. We boarded vans to head to the hot air balloon launch pad at 5:30am. It had been
quite some time since I'd seen that hour...but let me tell you: it was totally worth it! Enjoy :)

After our magical ride in the Valley, we headed over to another valley, this time in Sonoma County. 
We met my very knowledgeable uncle at the Jimtown Store on the outskirts of Healdsburg, where
 we found the food perfectly yummy and the atmosphere delightful. From there, my uncle showed
us two more wonderful vineyards {Geyser Peak Winery + Francis Ford Coppola Winery}.  The 
final stop we made in Healdsburg was the tasting room for Williamson Wines. It took the wine 
tasting experience to a whole other level, with the pairing of exquisite bites and tasty sips.
If you're in Sonoma County and don't go to Williamson, you're missing out!

Once we said goodbye to my uncle, we headed back for the Napa Valley and changed in a 
parking lot {classy!} before another phenomenal dinner at The Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant
Found at the Culinary Institute of America, the Greystone set the stage for a phenomenal 
last night with the {d}s. We even had an olive oil flight! 

The final hours of that day consisted of Trivial Pursuit back in our suite, which was a perfect way 
to top off our time with {jd} and {rd}. We woke up the next morning and gathered all our wine 
{28 bottles between us--eeps!}, before checking out and heading into Napa for one last lunch.
We chose Gott's Roadside for our final bite, which is another place I'm glad we didn't miss.
I had a killer burger, full of flavor and topped with a slice of bleu cheese. {cv} made a healthier 
choice and had tuna tacos ;) I'm salivating just thinking about that lunch...sigh.

Though traffic from Napa into San Francisco almost allowed us a few more hours with the {d}s, we
said our "see you laters" to {jd} and {rd} after what can only be classified as a perfect visit. Once we
left them, we managed to catch a few final glimpses of SF with one of my oldest friends in the world, {hs}. {Oldest in longevity--not age, of course!} She moved to the city after college for a teaching job and made our last hours in the Golden State that much more wonderful. It was great to catch up with {hs} after a few years apart and see her in her element!

After a stellar week in California and more than a thousand miles on the road, we boarded our
red-eye back to New England and tried to catch a few winks. I'm already ready to go back...
though my pants may never fit again if I was to eat that much food ;)

What is one of your favorite memories from your last vacation?
{I'd have a hard time picking just one from this trip!}

Thanks again for indulging me in one last California post! I hope you'll come back by tomorrow
for another round of Friday's Fancies :) This week, I'm pulling together a lazy and hazy summer
outfit. I hope you'll join in the fun and dream up your own Fancies! Until tomorrow, xoxo {av}
if you need a break from your Thursday, rewind our roadtrip!

a little surprise.

Last June, I was honored to stand beside one of my best friends, {eh}, as she became {eb}. 
{I posted a little more of her wedding lead-up back in February...check it out here!}
Amidst all the wedding craziness, I snapped a few photos with my Instax camera that 
I had actually purchased to use for the guestbook at our own wedding in April 2010.

As a fun little gift, I decided to assemble those Instax photos into a little makeshift album since 
there aren't any ready-made albums for photos that size. This may seem like a rudimentary craft, 
but let's be honest: when was the last time you spent much time thinking about photo corners
I had kind of forgotten about them--I'll admit. When trying to troubleshoot this lack of album
situation, I beelined for my local Michael's and created my own solution with those little 
sticky things that slipped my mind...

The ingredients for a simple and clean album
kraft paper photo corners from Michael's - $3.99
8" X 8" scrapbook from Michael's - $14.99
TOTAL = $18.98 (plus tax)

Even if you don't have an Instax, this little handmade album might just be the perfect gift. 
Photo corners give off a kind of retro vibe to me...and I just love them. As a tip, be sure to
load up all the photo corners first (as seen in step 2) before flipping it over to stick onto the
page. It worked a lot easier that way!

Do you have any easy, go-to crafts which aim to please?

I'm aching to get my hands on some fun DIY please pass on a few
of your favorites :) Hope your Wednesday goes by quickly! xoxo {av}

fruits of the valley.

It's Tuesday--and today, I have another dose of wine country for you! In the midst of the 
craziness of the last few weeks, my California recap posts have gotten shoved to the side...
so I hope you'll indulge me as I finally wrap up the trip this week. In order to avoid a 
complete picture dump, you're going to get one more helping of California on Thursday ;)

For our sixth day out west, we let someone else do the driving--which allowed us to really
enjoy the fruits of the valley. We scheduled a tour through Platypus Tours, which ended up
being a phenomenal decision. Here are a few photos from our stops along the way...

Platypus plans the tour based on where they make the pick-ups of their passengers. Since we 
were coming from the town of Napa and the other three adventurers were staying in Calistoga, 
the stellar tour director centered our tour in the northern part of Napa Valley. Our first stop of 
the day was at Castella di Amorosa, which was more for the castle than for the wine. From
there, we headed to the small and quaint Summers Estate, where we also enjoyed a light lunch
provided by Platypus. It ranked as one of our favorite because of its intimate tasting room and 
the bocce court in the backyard!

Frank Family Vineyards was next. It has a beautiful set-up and definitely had a bigger crowd than Summers, though I think that is because the Frank Family has a few more pennies to spend to 
promote their winery. Our day on the road ended at another small, family-run vineyard called the 
Dutch Henry Winery. Admittedly, this part of the day gets a little foggy {we had been to four
wineries by this point!}, but I remember two things very distinctly: yummy wine and a barn-cat 
named Miguelina, who was a dead ringer for our Lucy. {cv} also won a trivia contest before
we wrapped up the tour and won me a sweet prize. He's so good to me ;)

At the end of it all, taking a Platypus Tour made our sixth day in the Golden State that much 
better. We didn't have to worry about anything and had so much fun with the {d}s--
we laughed and enjoyed each other just like the old days back in Charlotte! 

On your travels, what have you done to help make your trip worry-free?

I hope your week got off to a splendid start! I can't wait to hear your travel tips :)
More from little ol' me tomorrow--xoxo {av}

if you're in the mood for more of California, here are the photos from earlier in our trip:

ikat you.

Happy Monday, everyone! This weekend was exactly what the doctor ordered...{cv} and I finally had a time to relax. We spent Friday night at home--unpacking from the last two weeks of traveling. On Saturday, I woke up to clean our apartment from head to toe in preparation for a visit from one of my dearest childhood friends, {js}. He made his way up to Providence from Brooklyn, where he is in med school. After picking him up from the MegaBus, we headed straight for Newport to give him a taste of summer in New England. With a fabulous dinner in our bellies, we headed back toward Providence for another quiet evening of wine and memories. 

We woke up for Sunday brunch before having to drop {js} back at the bus stop. {cv} and I ran a few errands {why, oh, why does Nordstrom have a private sale?} before grabbing some tilapia at Whole Foods for dinner. {It was our first attempt at fish--and boy, we'll be making it again!} Over the weekend, I even managed to page through a couple of magazines which gave me the idea for this post!

{1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9}

The J.Crew shorts {seen in the top left} mark my first "ikat" purchase. I'm so excited to start wearing them. I just hadn't found an ikat piece that fit my taste until I spotted these J.Crew beauties. I love the splash of color and the happy vibe an ikat pattern provides, don't you?

After reading a few magazines mentioning the "Aztec" trend on the docket for fall, it got me 
thinking about how to cut down on the trendy nature of prints from season to season.

To me, style is all about finding pieces you love {that can last a few seasons} and continuously incorporating them with other items which already exist in your closet. Those J.Crew shorts can 
be paired with a chambray shirt I bought last summer at the outlets and with an ever trusty pair 
of leather sandals I've had for years. 

The popularity of certain patterns may ebb and flow--but honestly, if you love what 
you're wearing, does it really matter if you're sporting ikat or Aztec? I think not.

Do you combat trendiness in your wardrobe or do you embrace it? 

My philosophy? When I want to add a piece of "now" without breaking the bank,
I hit up Forever21. When I want to add a piece of "forever", I do my homework and
spend a few more pennies to have something I'll wear more often and wear for years.

Many thanks to the 60+ lovely ladies who dreamed with me last Friday...your posts get better 
week after week! {I'm already itching for Friday!} Have a phenomenal Monday! xoxo {av}

friday's fancies #32.

Friday is finally here! After a tough week, a light and fun post dreaming of fashion is just what the doctor ordered ;) This week, I've pulled together an outfit which appeals to the beach girl who lives inside of me. Though many of you know that beach girl now practices much more restraint {and so should you!}, I will never stop loving the sound of the ocean or the smell of the salty air. I may miss my tan skin, but it doesn't mean I can't enjoy the seaside...responsibly, of course.

I hope you enjoy this sun-safe beachy chic outfit from yours truly...

1) With my sun history in mind, this La Perla Ruched Cut-Out One-Piece Swimsuit made perfect sense. This beauty of a bathing suit would keep me covered up and still allow me to feel cute! I love the small cut-out on the chest and the gold detail too!
2) This classic ASOS Oversized '70s Stripe Floppy Straw Hat seemed like the no-brainer choice for this waterside get-up. It's great for keeping the sun at bay and for upping the chic ante.
3) I fell in love with this versatile Salma Cotton-Gauze Dress from Bronzette the moment I saw it. Simple yet refined, I think it would look great with this bathing suit and the others in my closet!
4) I wish I were coordinated enough to sport heels with my swimsuit, but I'm a big klutz! To offset my lack of coordination, I spied these Rebecca Minkoff Beach Babe Strappy Sandals and thought they perfectly drew out the gold in the swimsuit.
5) Living out my sun savvy pledge, I think sunscreen is an absolute must for the beach. Since Friday's Fancies is about dreaming, I'm hoping this SkinCeuticals Sport UV Defense SPF 45 can help protect me from future skin issues many years into the future!
6) Tory Burch rocks it once again with these 'Disco Logo' Rounded Sunglasses. They're big, they're bold, and most of all, they'll keep the sun from affecting my view of my latest read.

Long time Friday's Fancies faithful, Julie from Brown Eyed Belle, holds the "likes" title for the Patriotic Pretty link-up! Congrats to this beautiful blogger who always share incredible inspiration photos for her sure to give her some love for her win!

If you want to grace the pages of {long distance loving} next week,
here are a few pointers to help you on your way...

Promote your post via twitter, facebook, smoke signals, or with the button below! The "likes" competition ends on Monday, July make your votes count! {If you use twitter, be sure to use the hashtag #FridaysFancies or mention @luvfromafar so I can help you too!}

An endless supply of thanks to the loyal Friday's Fancies posters, who never cease to amaze me
with their creativity or their kindness. 25 weeks later, here we are...and I'm looking forward to
many more months {and years} of dreaming together :) If you have any questions, please email me
or check out this post!

As a sidenote, thank you so much for your kind words about {cv}'s grandmother. Your love and support make all the difference. Much love to each and every one of you this weekend :) xoxo {av}

P.S. If you're hitting the beach, lake, or pool this weekend, please remember your sunscreen!